KT: Annabelle & Bear

Posted: July 17, 2011 in In Theatres, KT Personal, Reviews

Here’s our Sunday post for the Indianapolis International Film Fest, being held this year at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  Now through July 24th.

Today, J.C. and I went to see “Annabelle & Bear” in the Toby theatre at the IMA.  First off, the Toby rocks!  What a great theatre.  J.C. and I laid down (yes, I said laid down) in the theatre) in a large, overstuffed bean bag.  SO awesome.  We were in the back, there are also bean bags in the front of house that could hold 4- 5 people comfortably.  Great job to the festival for securing this cool space to watch some great independent films.  I did not know about the Toby until the Film Fest, and I hope to make that a new place to hang out in the city.

It was the picture that drew me to this movie.  The juxtaposition of this impending man, with this sweet, feminine girl…it captured my attention immediately.  We rushed around all day so that we would be able to catch the 4:15 p.m. showing.

This movie wastes no time whatsoever sucking you into the world of these characters.  The use of angles and shadow that writer/producer/director Amy S. Weber uses in the first few scenes of the movie portray the anguish of an addict in a hauntingly tragic way.  Crack-addicted Annie, tremendously played by Ruby Harris, drops her two-year old toddler Annabelle off at her biological father’s house because she “just can’t handle it anymore.”  We find out that the father, Bear, has not seen his daughter since the week she was born.  He reluctantly takes the child into his house and life in what will become the pivotal moment in Bear’s existence.

I really don’t want to get into the ins-and-outs of this film because if you are in the Indianapolis area, I would advise you to GO SEE THIS MOVIE.  Just a few things I want to touch on to hopefully help entice you into seeing this brilliant film.

Bear is played by Curt Massof, in his first big-screen acting performance.  According to his IMDB page, he has worked in the industry in various art departments.  Well I have to say, I’m glad he’s out from behind the scenes, and in front of the camera.  His performance is heart-warming and achingly real.  J.C. had commented that he was a bit “wooden” at the beginning of the film, but I believe that was part of Ms. Weber’s direction.  He had to be transformed by the little girl that invaded his comfortable life.

Annabelle, sweet Annabelle.  Olivia Walby… even if this little girl never acts in a movie ever again, I think she has accomplished more than some actors do in a lifetime.  Yep, I just said that.  She’s more than just cutely timed lines and a sweet face (although she has those too).  No, this girl has such presence in this film.  She steals the heart of the audience and Bear at the same time.  You feel for this girl.  You want this little princess to find solace in Bear’s great big arms.  According to her IMDB page, “Olivia Walby has the esteemed honor of being the youngest lead actor in the history of film.”  She is a toddler.  A toddler!  Beautiful little girl.

This movie had a profound impact on me.  There were many times where I had to wipe tears from my face, or felt myself jumping up to try and defend Annabelle, or try to give Bear a comforting pat on the shoulder. There are many thoughts and feelings I’m having after seeing this movie about my own quest for/into/against Motherhood.  This movie made me realize that anyone can be a good/bad parent.  All they need is to show that child love.  The rest will fall into place.

Ms. Weber — Bravo to you, to the cast, to the crew, and to the distributors.  Thank you to the Indianapolis International Film Fest for bringing this movie into my life.  This movie is truly independent – Michigan born and bred.

I will be seeing this movie again when it screens on Saturday, July 23rd at 10:15 a.m.  I hope to see you there, too.

  1. J.C. & Katie says:

    Outstanding and heartwarming film! I loved it and was touched by the story and characters. J.C.

  2. ryan johnson says:

    How did anyone feel about the supporting acters in the film? Meaning the drug seller and bears best friend or even bears mom? Would love to know what you thought, I have mixed feelings about this movie and felt they had too many montages and felt that the end of this film was very unreal because I don’t believe a father would just grab his kid from a crack house and do nothing. I also what to know why the bear guy did not have his friends help more with finding the kid or trying to get information from the drug guy of were the kid was at and that he would be so silly to keep trusting the babies mama. I just felt there was a lot of holes and not a lot of truth of what a father would do. In all I think the film had a good idea but was poorly executed.

  3. Chuck Carroll says:

    I liked the film overall – I think I gave it a 4 (out of 5) on the film fest ballot, but there were a few things that kept it from being a 5 for me.

    Mainly, there were a few bits where the film felt a little too overtly manipulative for me. Annabelle is a too-perfect little angel. Never does even the slightest annoying thing throughout the entire film. (That’s not to take away anything from Olivia’s wonderful performance, though.) And every single encounter seems calculated towards pushing Bear to be a father (see especially: the hotel owner). My other problem was a plot hole: when Annie takes Annabelle in the middle of the night, Bear stops Grace from reporting Annabelle as missing, correctly pointing out that it’s her mother who’s taken her…but why don’t they report Annie for stealing Bear’s car??? But despite these, I still enjoyed the film overall.

    I have to strongly recommend another film at the festival, though, “A Bag of Hammers.” It has a little similarity with Annabelle & Bear in that they have the common theme of people unexpectedly thrust into the role of parents. Unlike Annabelle & Bear, A Bag of Hammers is a comedy, albeit quite a warm-hearted one, and it’s stuck with me, so much that I’m considering going back for its second screening (Friday at 7:30), something I’ve never done at a film festival before.

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